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Navy Women's Tennis Aims For First Patriot League Title

Freshman Gabby Winter leads Navy with 23 victories during the 2011-12 season.

April 20, 2012

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy women's tennis team travels to Bethlehem, Pa., this weekend in search of its first Patriot League tournament title when action gets underway Friday on the campus of Lehigh University. The Midshipmen will open tournament play on Saturday as owners of a 19-2 overall record and an unblemished 4-0 Patriot League mark.

Navy received a quarterfinal-round bye after being awarded the top seed for the first time in program history. In earning the top seed, Navy will face the winner of Friday's match between fourth-seeded Lehigh and fifth-seeded Bucknell. Navy's first action of the tournament will take place on Saturday morning at 10:00 AM against either the host Mountain Hawks or the Bison at the Ulrich Varsity Courts on Lehigh's campus. In the event of inclement weather, competition will be moved indoors to the Lewis Tennis Center, which is adjacent to the Ulrich Varsity Courts.

Since Army and Navy did not play during the regular season, the League's tiebreaker procedure went to records against common League opponents, with both academies at 4-0 against Bucknell, Colgate, Lafayette and Lehigh. With the teams still in a tie, a comparison of records was made against common non-League opponents, of which there was just one - Quinnipiac. Army and Navy both picked up a win over the Bobcats.

In the event that a tie remains, the League consults rankings provided by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). The calculations provided to the League office by the ITA placed Navy at No. 109 nationally and Army at 139th. Therefore, the Mids are the top seed and earn a bye to Saturday's semifinals.

The Midshipmen defeated both Lehigh and Bucknell during the regular season, topping Bucknell, 5-2, and defeating Lehigh, 6-1. Navy owns a 3-2 series advantage with three straight victories over Bucknell while holding a 3-0 series lead over Lehigh.

The Midshipmen reached the semifinals in 2010 and lost to Army in the finals a year ago. Navy, making its third appearance, is 3-2 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament.

Navy's entire lineup has experienced success during the 2012 season as each probable starter has won at least 11 dual-meet matches and 16 matches for the entire season.

Playing at No. 1 singles will likely be sophomore Darien Sears (Silver Spring, Md.). Sears owns a 16-15 overall mark but is 12-7 in dual-meet action and owns a 40-24 career mark, ranking fourth on the career victories list. Sears has won four of her last five matches entering the weekend, is 3-1 against Patriot League opposition this spring and is 2-0 in Patriot League Tournament play during her career.

At No. 2 singles will be junior Emani Decquir (Sacramento, Calif.). Decquir owns an 18-9 overall record and is 11-6 in dual-meet play. Decquir is tied for the top spot on the career victories list (45) and is 4-0 this season against Patriot League foes. Decquir has won five of her last six matches and owns a 2-1 career record at the league tournament.

Junior Stefanie Ton (Milpitas, Calif.) has had a strong season at No. 3 singles with a 17-10 overall mark and a 13-6 dual-meet record. Ton is tied with Decquir for the school record with 45 career victories. Ton is 1-1 all-time at the league tournament.

Sophomore Erin Snook (Tampa, Fla.) is 21-6 overall and 17-2 at No. 4 singles, leading the team in dual-meet victories (17) and winning percentage (.778). Snook is third on the career wins list (44) and is 8-1 in her last nine matches, while ranking first (24 wins last year) and fourth (21 wins this year) on the Navy single-season victories list. During her brief two-year career, Snook is 35-9 (.795) in dual-meet action. She went 2-1 in last year's league tournament.

Two freshmen, Gabby Winter (Orlando, Fla.) and Noelle Kaufmann (Westlake, Ohio), hold down the Nos. 5 and 6 positions for head coach Keith Puryear (497-329 career record). Winter is 23-12 this season overall and needs just one win to tie the school record (24 set last year by Snook and Sears) for single-season victories. Winter is 13-6 this spring and 4-0 against Patriot League opposition. She has also won eight of her last nine matches.

Kaufmann, meanwhile, has been brilliant at the No. 6 position with an 18-6 overall record and a 13-1 dual-meet mark. She saw her school-record 13-match winning streak end in Navy's last match against Old Dominion, but went 4-0 against Patriot League opposition and ranks second behind Snook on the school's single-season winning percentage list (18-6; .750).

Navy has struggled at times in doubles play this year, losing the doubles point in nine of its 21 matches. However, in seven of those nine occurrences of losing the doubles point, Navy has rallied for the match victory in singles play. Navy's No. 1 doubles tandem will be Decquir and Ton, who own a 10-10 dual-meet record and is 11-17 overall. The duo is 2-2 against league opposition. Navy's No. 2 doubles team is Kaufmann and Snook with a 10-9 dual-meet tally and the group is 2-2 in league play.

Navy's No. 3 doubles grouping will likely be Dye Das (Jr. / Cherry Hill, N.J.) and Sears. Since being paired up midway through the dual-meet season, the duo has posted a 6-2 dual-meet record and a 4-0 mark against Patriot League foes.

The championship match will be played on Sunday at 1:00 PM.




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